How to Celebrate Three Kings’ Day
Happy Three Kings’ Day! Feliz Día de los Tres Reyes Magos!
I keep hearing from people how Christmas if over. Decorations are already coming down and trees once bright with lights and ornaments sit sadly on curbsides for garbage pick up.
But for many of us, December 25th is just the beginning. I’m Puerto Rican/Spaniard by nationality and in my house, as in many other Spanish and Latin American households, Christmas culminates 12 days after in the most important of holidays. Three Kings Day, or Dia de los Reyes Magos!
Most know the story of the Three Kings following a bright star in the western sky carrying gifts to the newborn king. But in Spanish culture, Three Kings Day, or the Epiphany, is one of the most important holidays on the calendar. Traditionally, this was the date of gift exchange rather then Christmas Day. The night before, kids would gather grass, hay or straw in shoe-boxes for the Magi’s camels or horses. Good kids were rewarded with presents and candy, while bad kids ended up with dirt.
Today, traditions have changed. Children receive presents on the 25th, but for those who celebrate it there are gifts reserved for Three Kings Day. In some household these gifts are just candy or something small, in others the larger and more popular gifts are reserved for this day (and with good reason – parents can purchase gifts in the lucrative after-Christmas sales!) So maybe you want to add this celebration to your traditions. It’s a great way to really explain to kids the 12 days of Christmas and keep the spirit of the Holidays going well into the New Year.
How to Celebrate Three Kings’ Day (El Día de los Tres Reyes Magos)
- Each child needs a small box (generally a shoe box) which could be decorated as they choose. It’s a nice craft activity to do on January 5th to celebrate Three Kings’ Day with the kids in anticipation of the day.
- The night before you celebrate Three Kings’ Day, on La Vispera de Reyes – have the child collect grass and put it in the box. The grass is for the kings’ camels. This falls under the same vain as setting out milk & cookies for Santa or carrots for his reindeer.
- Before bed, the box is slipped under the child’s bed or alongside it if there is no space below it.
- During the night, once your child is asleep, throw out the grass and replace it with candy (the box is basically like a stocking.) Place a gift next to it.
- The next morning, January 6, your child wakes to find the gift and candy that the Three Kings left for them.
Los Tres Reyes (Three Kings’ Day) is a fun holiday and one I plan to continue celebrating each year so my kids can create their own memories and embrace this Latino tradition.
Do you have any special ways you celebrate Three Kings’ Day? We’d love to hear it in the comments below.
This blog post was written by Dianne while she was a blogger for Jersey Family Fun.